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Students Educators

T-TESS (eLearning)

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Settings

About T-TESS

T-TESS works on any device with a browser and an internet connection. There are two primary roles. Those who are Appraisers and those who are being Appraised (e.g., Teacher logins).

IMPORTANT: Appraisers in DMAC have access to CONFIDENTIAL employment records at your campus or district (based on their user role).

User Access:

  • District administrators can edit district/campus settings and view appraisals.
  • Campus administrators can edit campus settings and view appraisals.
  • Appraisers
  • Teachers

Establish Settings

  • From the top navigation bar, the District and Campus Administrators establish the Settings identifying District and Campus Appraisers.  Also under Settings, District Administrators, District Managers, Campus Admin and Appraisers can select which Teachers require Observations. 

District/Campus Settings 

  • Each new school year begins on July 1. Click the button to unlock or lock the previous school years appraisals (locks back automatically after 5 days).
  • View Appraisers for the district or individual campus with the Location drop-down.
  • Click the Print icon to print a listing of active and pending  Appraisers.
  • Select the New button to add Appraisers. Check next to name(s) and click Add Users.
  • District Administrators may designate any/all appraisers.  Campus Administrators may designate appraisers only  for their campus.  
  • Appraisers listed with a green check in the Active column have completed their account setup. A pending status indicates that they still need to register their account.
  • Click the red X to the right of names to delete an appraiser’s account/access.

Observations Required 

  • Select the School Year and Campus from the top drop-downs to view Teachers.
  • Use the Y/N toggles to designate if Teachers require an observation for the current school year.
  • Click the Star icon to the left of a name to self assign a teacher. This allows you to filter for only those who you are appraising.
  • Each new school year, teachers default back to what they were the year before.
  • On the top right, use the Update All drop-down to make all teachers Required/Not Required or to Assign or Unassign all (star icons).
  • Use the links across the top to view Teachers by All, Assigned, Required, Not Required or No State IDs.

Register State Account

  • The first time someone accesses T-TESS, they are required to register their account with their TSDS Unique ID (a 10-digit number that your district can provide, if needed.) 
  • This action will momentarily redirect you to the Utilities application. Enter the Unique State IDBirth Date and Gender and Click Submit
  • It’s very important that the correct information is entered. Not doing so could result in major delays. The TSDS number is a unique ID assigned to every educator in Texas. Make sure it’s entered correctly!
  • Appraisers are also required to enter their first, middle (if available) and last name when registering their account for T-TESS..
  • Enter an Email Address for Account Recovery purposes and click the Verify Email button. A pin will be sent to the email account and is required to continue. Enter the pin and then select a Security question and answer; click Save.
  • Appraisers also need to click on Settings > Appraiser Account from the top navigation bar to enter the Certification Date to complete setting up their account. 

Teachers

Account Information

  • Teachers may need to activate accounts before Appraisers can create walkthroughs, observations and evaluations–or, send email notifications.  This includes entering the unique 10 digit TSDS State ID number if it wasn’t provided by your school.
  • IMPORTANT: Teachers MUST sign in with their TEACHER account (even if other Campus or District level logins exist) when completing documentation for T-TESS..

GSPD Plan

  • Click the add icon to start a Goal Setting and Professional Development (GSPD) plan. 
  • Complete Parts, 1, 2 and 3 throughout the school year.
  • Click Save anytime you make changes.
  • Teachers will have the option to import Future Goals into Part I of their GPSD the next appraisal year.

Review/Sign Documentation

  • All documents published by an appraiser are available for viewing and/or signing. 
  • Click the preview icon on the published document to view. 
  • Click the print icon to print documents or save them as a .pdf. 

Appraisers

Search for Teachers

  • Use the filters on the left to view teachers by school year and campus. Or, filter by All, Assigned Teachers, or those requiring or not requiring observations.
  • District level appraisers need to pick a campus from the drop-down. 
  • Teachers appearing on the left with their names grayed out have NOT activated their T-TESS accounts. This has to be done before appraisers can create any walkthroughs or observations.
  • If a Teacher’s name appears in Red, this means that they do not currently require an observation for that school year. (although, you still have the ability to add them, if desired).
  • A check icon indicates the Teacher has completed some or all of their GPSD plans.

Create & Manage Documentation 

  • Click on the teacher’s name to view their files.
  • Select the star icon to the right of a teacher’s name to assign them to your appraiser account. The icon appears green when selected. 
  • Click the Y or N toggle to select if an Observation is required for the selected Teacher. 
  • To view sections of the GSPD plans, click on the check icons at the top of the page. Green indicates completed and gray denotes missing information.
  • Use the New button on the top right to create documents for a pre-conference, informal walkthroughs, observations, complete custom FormWorks® forms, upload walkthroughs or other documentation and email the selected teacher.
  • The Activity link provides a listing of all actions tied to the teacher.
  • Select the Emails link to see a history of emails sent. 
  • Use the Uploads to add any supporting documentation.
  • The Teacher’s page lists all documentation as it’s entered throughout the school year–defaulting to the ALL tab. 
  • View documents by Pre-Conference, Walkthroughs or Observations. The number circled in gray indicates how many of each category are attached to the account. 
  • Pre-Conferences appear with an orange square icon to the left of the date, Walkthroughs have a gray square, Observations have a blue icon and a Final Observation will have a green square.
  • Dates: Not Bold denotes the document has been viewed by the teacher; Bold indicates the teacher has not viewed the document; Asterisk (*) – Document counts towards the final observation.
  • Click the Print icon to the right of each document to print or view information. Click Yes to include the Observation Evidence Sheet.
  • Teachers and Appraisers can use the icons to the right of each document to Print, Edit, Delete or Preview (depending on the user role).
  • Once published and signed documents become READ ONLY
  • Each document needs signatures by both the Appraiser and Teacher. Track them by seeing which have a green checkmark in the Signed columns (reports also available).

Informal Walkthrough

Create a new Walkthrough

  • A TEA approved form is available in T-TESS for Informal Walkthroughs.
  • From the Teacher’s page, click the New > Informal Walkthrough button on the top right.
  • The Teacher and Appraiser’s names appear on the top. Identify the Teachers’ taught subject, grade level and change the date and start/end times, as needed.
  • Check the box(es) to indicate it was an announced Walkthrough, if it will count towards the ratings in the Final Observation and if it is virtual; Click the button to enter Scripting and Ratings.
  • Use the Edit icon on the top right to make any changes to the form details at the top.
  • There are three sections on the form. When starting a new one, it defaults to the Ratings page. Use the Scripting, Files and Ratings links to move between the sections.

Scripting

  • From the Scripting section, click the New button to begin – 4,000 character limit per box. Select Dimension(s) at the top –this may be selected at a later time. Type or copy and paste text and click Save or click Save & New to open another text box. 
  • Notes are organized by Date and Time with selected dimensions on the right.
  • Use the Edit and Delete icons for each note, as needed. Click the Ratings section or Ratings/Evidence button at the bottom to switch to that area.
  • Scripting notes can quickly be imported into the Evidence section for each of the dimensions on the Ratings page.

Files

  • Appraisers can upload supporting files within the Files section of a walkthrough.
  • Click the Select Files button, locate files and click Open. There is an option to attach files to a particular Dimension. Click the button to Upload Selected Files.
  • Use the Preview icon to view files, Edit to change the name or Delete to remove it from the list.

Ratings

  • Select the radio button to establish a rating (1-5) for each dimension.
  • Use the Evidence column to add supporting information. Click the green add icon to either type or copy and paste text or use the buttons to import notes from the Scripting Notes or the Pre-Conference. Select and attach files to the Evidence for each dimension (optional). Click Save. Dimensions with evidence added display a paper icon with a check mark.
  • Click on the Dimension title to view (in a new window) the associated rubric (if you checked virtual when creating the walkthrough, the virtual rubric appears instead). A sliding scale at the top is available to assist with selecting an appropriate rating.
  • Click Save Ratings
  • Click Exit Walkthrough, when finished.
  • Select Yes to Publish Record. Once the document is published, the teacher can view and electronically sign the document..
  • Click Yes to send an email to notify the selected teacher that the latest changes in their documents are available for viewing. 
  • Teachers cannot view walkthroughs until they have been published by the Appraiser.

Observation

Options

  • TEA approved forms are available in T-TESS for Observations (including the final observation).
  • There is more than one option for T-TESS schools when determining the end-of-year appraisal ratings for teachers. Districts can keep the ratings disaggregated and provide individual ratings for teachers for each of the sixteen dimensions on the T-TESS rubric. For schools that adopt this method for summative ratings, student growth acts like the seventeenth dimension and is not weighted–as weighting does not apply to disaggregated ratings. 
  • For T-TESS schools who decide to provide teachers a single overall summative rating, student growth must count as at least 20% of the overall summative rating. In that sense, student growth acts like the fifth domain with the four rubric domains accounting for the other 80% of the teacher’s overall summative rating. 
  • Source: Guidance on Student Growth in T-TESS
  • Use the New > Observation option from a teacher’s page to start new documentation. The functionality works the same as the Informal Walkthroughs.
  • Enter Scripting Notes, Files and Ratings. The Scripting notes can be imported into the Evidence section for Ratings. Click the title of the dimension on the left of the Ratings page to see the full rubric including a sliding scale that will help Appraisers determine which rating is appropriate for the Teacher.
  • Observations also include a Post Conference section. Use the Import button to pull in previous data or click the Add New button to include up to two Reinforcement areas, Self-Analysis Questions or Evidence.
  • Click the Save Ratings button and then Exit Observation, when finished. Click Yes to Publish the document making it available for Teachers to view and sign. 

Final Observation

  • Use the New > Final Observation option from a teacher’s page to start the Final Observation. The functionality works the same as the Informal Walkthroughs and Observations..
  • A new column (*) is included which pulls in the average rating for each dimension from all counted documentation.
  • Save Ratings and Exit Final Observation, or continue on to Post Conference
  • At the bottom of the Final Observation, there are two important sections related to Student Growth and TIA.
  • Count Student Growth as: 17th Dimension (no overall rating will be available) or % Domain (must be between 20 and 99); click Calculate Rating.  If 17th Dimension is selected, a warning message appears if any dimensions are missing ratings.
  • Note: The % will default to 20 if no other value has been entered and the other dimensions will be calculated evenly (ex. user selects 40% for Student Growth. All other dimensions will be calculated at 15% each). User will not be able to calculate the overall rating until all ratings are selected. 
  • Refer to our section and video on TIA to learn more about the TIA section. When selecting yes, you can calculate a TIA Designation score if all ratings for Domains 2 and 3 have been entered.

Forms and Uploads

FormWorks®  Integration

  • Custom online forms can be created in DMAC’s FormWorks application (purchased separately) and integrated within T-TESS. When creating templates in FormWorks, they must be tied to T-TESS in order for them to be available for Appraisers to complete.
  • On the top right of a Teacher’s file click the New button and select FormWorks Form. Identify a Subject, Grade level and change the date, Start and End Times, if needed. 
  • Check if it was Announced or Virtual and select a Template from the drop-down. The document will not appear unless the template was tied to T-TESS when created in FormWorks).
  • Complete the information on the form and click Save. When you click Exit, you will be asked if you want to Publish the document. If so, click Yes. This action will lock the document after the Teacher inputs their signature. You can also send the Teacher an email after clicking Publish to notify them it is ready for review.
  • Data collected from any forms in T-TESS can be viewed or exported in the Reports section of T-TESS.

Upload Walkthroughs or Other Files

  • Appraisers have the option to upload .pdf files in T-TESS. This can be attached as Walkthroughs or you can upload evidence samples and other documents that are relevant to the Teacher’s appraisal.
  • On the top right of a Teacher’s file click the New button and select Upload Walkthrough to add a copy of a previously completed walkthrough that will require signatures. Select a Subject/Grade Level/Date/Time and whether it was Announced or Virtual and then use the Select button to locate the file on your device; click Save. After saving, click Exit and Publish to make it available for teacher viewing.
  • Please note: data is not available in the Reports section for uploaded Walkthrough forms.
  • Select New > Upload File to upload other documents or supporting evidence you want to share with a teacher. Both the Appraiser and Teacher can view/upload .pdf files. Note: Uploaded files do not include signature fields. Up to 10 files can be uploaded at one time.

Reports

Appraisers can view reports by selecting Reports from the top navigation bar.. 

  • Select an individual campus by clicking on Campus drop-down.
  • Choose the report title.
  • Select Options. 
  • Check individual Appraisers and/or  Educators (optional).

Click the Print icon (top right) to view or print reports as a .pdf. Click the Export icon to open the results in a spreadsheet (this includes additional data that cannot fit on a printed page).

TIA and T-TESS

T-TESS and TIA

  • The T-TESS application can help educators with the process of maintaining documentation for the Texas Incentive Allotment (TIA).
  • Within the TIA framework, there is substantial focus on the Domains of 2 & 3. 
  • Utilize the T-TESS application in DMAC to calibrate the TIA processes at your school. These can help ensure that all appraisals are being conducted as fairly and equally as possible.

Student Growth & TIA Designation Score

  • The TIA calculation, when selected on the Final Observation, is taking the average of Domains 2 & 3, and the overall student growth percentage that is entered at the bottom of the appraisal.  
  • Each school can specify what they are using to determine student growth for TIA.  TEA states the student growth ratings on T-TESS appraisals should be drawn from one of the following: SLOs (Student Learning Objectives); Portfolios; District Pre- and Post-tests; or, VAM (Value Added Measure) based on State Assessments.
  • In T-TESS, the Appraiser can set the weight for the averages of Domains 2 & 3 as well as the weight for Student Growth in the overall calculation. Once the weights are set, the software calculates the overall score based on Domains 2 & 3 and the growth % that was entered.   This calculation is currently listed under the TIA Designation Score on the Final Observation.
  • With the inclusion of student growth, T-TESS is composed of two different measures – the rubric and student growth. T-TESS districts have options when determining end-of-year appraisal ratings for teachers. 
  • Districts can keep the ratings disaggregated and provide individual ratings for teachers for each of the sixteen dimensions on the T-TESS rubric. For districts that adopt this method for summative ratings, student growth acts like the seventeenth dimension and is not weighted, as weighting does not apply to disaggregated ratings. 
  • For T-TESS districts that decide to provide teachers a single overall summative rating, student growth must count at least 20% of the overall summative rating. In that sense, student growth acts like the fifth domain, with the four rubric domains accounting for the other 80% of the teacher’s overall summative rating. 

TIA Reports

  • Reports are available through DMAC’s Appraisals application for T-TESS to help schools with documentation for the Texas Incentive Allotment (TIA).  
  • Select the Reports section from the top navigation bar in T-TESS. The Skew Report and Correlation Graph (when Final Observation is selected) allow you to review trends in teacher observation data and correlations to student growth. 
  • Disaggregate dimension ratings by district, campus, appraiser, subject and grade in order to facilitate calibration practices required by TEA for the Teacher Incentive Allotment program. 
  • Click the Print (view as a .pdf) or Export (open in spreadsheet) icons on the top right after making your selections. Exported data will also include individual teacher names and more information that cannot fit on a printed page.
  • Note: Each dimension in Domains 2&3 must be rated to be included on Skew Reports and student growth percentage must be entered on teachers’ final observations to be included on the correlation graph.